Walls as Multivalent Icons in Early People’s Republican Cartoons, 1946-1951

The rise and ultimate victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese civil war, and Mao’s galvanizing intervention into the Korean War, was accompanied and supported by a wave of cultural propaganda that depicted the CCP as the strongest defenders and representatives of the Chinese nation. This paper looks at an array of cartoons from the late 1940s and early 50s to argue that … Continue reading Walls as Multivalent Icons in Early People’s Republican Cartoons, 1946-1951

Notes on North Korean Musical Exchanges and Internal Narratives

A lot of people seem to be interested in North Korean cultural diplomacy these days, so the (often peer-reviewed/probably badly flawed/usually enormously fun) work which I have been doing on this issue for the last decade has allowed me to say a few not completely ignorant things about it for a wider public. [Updated 6 April 2018:] This morning I spoke about it with Canada’s … Continue reading Notes on North Korean Musical Exchanges and Internal Narratives

Cruel Resurrection: Chinese Comics and the Korean War

I wrote this article in the early 2000s under the direction of the ageless Chinese art historian Shen Kuiyi, with whom I did a “cognate field” during my doctoral studies at Ohio University, and with inspiration and advice from Temple University’s John Lent, a pioneer in  global comic book scholarship whose research on cartoonists (漫画家) and cartooning in the early PRC has been foundational to … Continue reading Cruel Resurrection: Chinese Comics and the Korean War

Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

This is the first in a multi-post project on German geographers and intellectuals and their interaction with Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, with a nominal focus on Manchuria and the border region between Manchukuo and colonial Korea. These are themes which I have begun exploring tentatively in a new journal publication entitled ‘ ‘Owen Lattimore and Research on the Sino-Korean Borderlands, 1931-1945‘ (European Journal of … Continue reading Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

Resources on North Korean Music Diplomacy

  One strand of my ongoing academic work as a historian of Northeast Asia concerns music and cultural diplomacy in and by North Korea. My published online work on this topic generally does a few things. It: – tries to understand what the music scene means for broader cultural changes in Kim Jong-un’s Korea; – documents which ensembles seem to be in the favour of … Continue reading Resources on North Korean Music Diplomacy

North Korea as Cinematic Enemy: Donald Trump and ‘Olympus has Fallen’

I’m a historian of contemporary Northeast Asia, which means that narratives having to do with the Cold War or with peace and war in the region today interest me, even when they’re awful. In 2013, I made the ultimate sacrifice for an academic and went to see Olympus has Fallen, a mass-marketed Hollywood movie that, nominally, intersects with the subject matter I have dedicated myself to study. … Continue reading North Korea as Cinematic Enemy: Donald Trump and ‘Olympus has Fallen’

Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative

2015 was supposedly a triumphant year for the Chinese Communist Party, but the CCP seemed determined to end the year on a landslide of insecurity with respect to the foreign journalists within its borders. The expulsion of French journalist Ursela Gauthier was, of course, the primary case in point. As Gauthier noted, her case was not just about her single report and subsequent failure to engage in … Continue reading Journalist Expulsions and Beijing’s Counterterrorism Narrative